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Joseph Kellman

Kellman, Joseph 90; A Legend in Chicago Business and Chicago Philanthropy. Joe Kellman, a titan of the Chicago business community and a lifelong advocate for children and families in the North Lawndale community, died peacefully on Thursday, January 7, 2010, at his home in Texas. He passed away on his 90th birthday surrounded by his loving wife and family. Upon retirement in 2001, he and his wife LouAnne moved to Southern California, where they were residing at the time of his death. Joe Kellman was born on January 7, 1920, and grew in the North Lawndale community of Chicago. In the 9th grade, Joe was forced to drop out of school to work in his father's glass shop. After his father's death, he and his brother Morrie assumed ownership of the glass business until they dissolved their partnership in 1950. Morrie took over the manufacturing division, while Joe took over two small retail glass shops. Over the next 45 years, the shops grew into The Globe Group, the nation's largest privately owned auto glass replacement company. In 1999, Joe sold the company to Belron International. Joe's achievements in business were rivaled only by his charitable endeavors. He vowed never to forget his early beginnings, and he committed himself to serving youth and their families in the North Lawndale community. Because of Joe's interest in the sport of boxing, he founded the Archie Moore Gym in 1961 at 1512 South Pulaski in North Lawndale as an after-school boxing club for boys. Shortly after opening the gym, Joe realized that sports alone could not change the direction of a young person's life. He was often heard to say that "sports are a lure, not a cure." Boxing, while positive in its focus on discipline and physical skills development, did little to improve long-term life outcomes for youth in the community. In the mid 1960s, Joe, with the help of long-time friend and entertainer Buddy Hackett, transitioned the Archie Moore Gym into the Better Boys Foundation (BBF). BBF grew into a multi-faceted youth development agency through the creation and delivery of innovative programming that grew and evolved to meet the needs of the North Lawndale community. Even during times of great racial conflicts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the community showed its trust in Joe's commitment to North Lawndale by electing him president of the Greater North Lawndale Conservation Commission, a community organization. Joe also fostered strategic fundraising alliances with area businesses that supported well-known events such as the NFL Player's Association Mackey Awards Dinner. Today, BBF serves some 800 boys and girls each year through licensed child welfare services and innovative out-of-school time programs. The agency's college scholarship program alone currently supports nearly 40 North Lawndale students in colleges, universities and vocational programs throughout the country. BBF operates out of a 30,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility designed to allow each child who enters its doors to visualize a broader world and brighter future. The BBF Center was financed by the Joseph Kellman Family Foundation specifically for BBF and the children it serves. The new BBF Center opened in 2008 and represents Joe Kellman's 50-year commitment to the North Lawndale community. In 1988, Joe co-founded with corporate peers Vernon Loucks, Jr., the Chairman and CEO of Baxter International, and Fred Turner, the Chairman and CEO of McDonalds, the Corporate/Community Schools of America (C/CSA) on the west side of Chicago, the country's first corporate-sponsored school. A long-time advocate for public school reform, Joe's personal philosophy was that the failure of public education was the fault of the system, not of the child. His intent with C/CSA was to prove that the efficacy of common business practices could be applied to public schools to improve learning, even in the most underperforming schools. His experiment was successful. The Joseph Kellman Corporate/Community School in North Lawndale is now one of Chicago Public Schools' top performing elementary schools. Joe's work been recognized nationwide and earned him feature coverage in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Wall Street Journal, Ebony Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Newsweek, Reader's Digest, the CBS Evening News and ABC's 2020. His numerous awards and honors include an honorary PhD from National Lewis University; the first Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year Award given by Inc. Magazine, Ernst & Young, and Merrill, Lynch & Co.; the Raoul Wallenberg Award; a special award given by Parent Magazine; the national Glass Association's Community Service Award; Loyola University's Civic Award; and the American Red Cross Hero Award. In addition, he served on numerous charitable boards, community commissions, and business associations, including as the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission (past President), the Illinois Racing Board (past Commissioner), Special Children's Charities, Business and Professional People in the Public Interest, and the National Glass Association/Auto Glass Industry Council. Along with his successful career in the glass business, his advocacy of and investment in the improvement of public education, and his passion for changing the direction of the lives of children in North Lawndale, Joe Kellman also bred his own racehorses and promoted every major boxing event in the city of Chicago over a 20 year period with his friend and partner Ben Bentley. His premiere racehorse was the famous Shecky Greene, a sprinter that went on to gain international fame by winning the Eclipse Award as 1973 Sprint Champion, the same year he ran in the Kentucky Derby and set the pace for Secretariat in his record run. Joe Kellman lived a long and fulfilling life that he shared fully with his family, friends, and those in need of a helping hand. Joe was predeceased by his daughter, Celia (Cissy). He is survived by his wife, LouAnne; his son, Jack Kellman and his wife Monique; his son Richard Kellman and his wife Lisa; his stepson Bill Suggs; his stepson Bruce Suggs and his wife Jeanne Cheng; his grandchildren Robert Saxner, Cindy DeMaio, Allison Cantrell, Colette Kellman, Jake Kellman, Olivia Kellman, Stephanie Kellman, Suzannah Suggs, and Kye Suggs; and his great-grandchildren Jaclyn DeMaio, Dylan DeMaio, Brooke DeMaio, Owen Saxner, and Maeve Saxner. Joe Kellman will be remembered always as a man of exceptional integrity who was committed to equity of opportunity for all people. A public visitation will be held Thursday, January 14, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Better Boys Foundation, 1512 South Pulaski Road in Chicago, Illinois. Valet parking will be provided. A private burial service has also been planned. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Better Boys Foundation, 1512 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois, 60623.
Published in Chicago Sun-Times from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15, 2010
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